It’s Friday. They happen! So damn often.
In the first several weeks after I quit alcohol, Fridays were hard. In my starts and stops before this quitting thing got some momentum, Fridays were such a weak spot. Done with the week, time to let loose. Everyone else seemed headed for “happy” hour. I should get to go for my beer, too.
It was dismayingly easy for the little addict in my head to find the logical reason why we should partake. We deserved it. Everyone else was doing it, and look, it didn’t cause problems for them. (She has something of an evidence-assessment problem.) Just letting down once a week isn’t damaging. God, you’re such a black-and-white thinker.
She was relentless and clever, and she usually won.
Obviously, I don’t do those kinds of Fridays now. It did help to have my 3 p.m. cravings fade away to nothing. But that doesn’t affect the flash-crap-decisionmaking that the addict is capable of — how I can be going along peacefully and in the space of one second, a wannabe-decisionmaker in me decides we need alcohol, that an exception is warranted. Now!
One thing that really helps me is to remember that I am not the only one living my Fridays without alcohol. Many of you are, too. But I need to picture it. I picture all of you who are also walking away from alcohol and rethinking/redesigning your Fridays.
Even more specifically, I create an image of a handful of women in my city who are struggling exactly as I am, who are making this same decision, and they’re walking around out there not all that far from me, and we’re in this together. That nails it for me when I need it. I don’t actually know who those people are, but I’m confident they’re out there and that’s all I need.
Mostly, these days, I don’t need that image. My Fridays have acquired less of a charge. The week just goes around, more smoothly. Removing a stress release has the effect of my accumulating less stress to begin with, and when I accumulate less stress, I have less of a need to blow off steam. If I do go out on a Friday night, I’ve started exploring places where there simply isn’t any alcohol — for example, my neighborhood is full of coffee shops and many have music on the weekends. Kids. People knitting. (Though if I want something less tame there’s always the cozy wine bar where I sit in the dark corner on a black couch (inevitably near someones’ first date) with my NA beer and people-watch.)
How are you redesigning your Fridays? TGIAFF!